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How do you feel about the dark? Do you find it comforting or distressing?
Wherever we live on this planet, each year we experience a period of colder temperatures and longer periods of darkness. During that time, nature slows down its growth, sheds its clothing, and goes to sleep. People that live in harmony with nature, tend to follow its cues in their own lives, but the rest of us find this time of extended darkness difficult. To help us get through the winter, it may be helpful to understand the symbolism of darkness, which can be seen from two perspectives.
The first one is that of something sinister. If we take the Light to represent high consciousness and love, then the dark is what is experienced when one turns away from the Light – in other words, a lower level of consciousness. We may see darkness as evil because low-level consciousness is often accompanied by lower-frequency emotions of fear, anger, and hatred. Therefore, we associate negative emotions and the behaviors that result from them with the dark. We have even turned this concept into entertainment. The genre of horror, for example, glorifies low consciousness, frightening us with low-frequency human energy and behaviors.
The other view of darkness, however, is quite different. It is the primordial state of creative potential before creation is manifested. It is the unformed consciousness that contains within it the potential for all creation. It is not the dimming of the existing Light, but the state in which the Light has not yet taken form. From this perspective, the darkness represents the womb of creation, it represents our subconscious. It is the space where we can reconnect with all that is and find answers to every question. It is a place of nurturing, of wholeness, of immense creative potential.
If you have a negative reaction to the thought of long nights, consider the following. Nature knows that the dark is a necessary, nurturing time during which it needs to let go of the superficial, stop bearing fruit, and go within, conserving its energy for the upcoming burst of creation. The same applies to humans. Wintertime reminds us of the necessity to step back, reflect, reassess, and regroup. The long hours of the night invite us to go within, reflect on the past, and plan (dream) for the future.
In Greek mythology, the darkness of the night represented the underworld, but if we replace the concept of “under-world” with the concept of “sub-conscious,” the dark stops representing death, grief, and sadness, and starts to identify a deeper, wiser part of ourselves, which we can only reach when we leave behind our busy, external selves. If we don’t take the time to let go of the external stimuli and withdraw from the everyday level of awareness, we will simply go into overdrive and lose the ability to be creative and productive. So I invite you to welcome the dark (whether within the span of a day or a year). Embrace it, settle into it, relax, reflect, and dream your future into existence.